Tab Tooling: 4 Common Ways to Ensure Maximum Return Investment

No matter for the vendors or the manufacturers, we often fall in the confusion that how long should a station of tooling last. We all know that the factors come from various perspectives, including the tablet tooling configuration, steel type, treatment process, and the characteristics of the granules and the like. Tablet tooling, as the most easily worn tools, is the key to reduce production cost and to increase return. Consequently, we all intend to extend the expectancy of the punches and dies, keeping them in good condition within service life.

Every component and part has a finite service life, tablet tooling is not an exception. We all want to ensure the maximum return of the tooling, then we should protect them in good condition and exert their functions at most longevity. When evaluating the life of punches and dies, several considerations must be made to prolong and protect the investment. There are 4 common ways summarized to ensure maximum return investment.

  • Proper Operation and Storage

Tablet tools is one of the most vulnerable parts. A small abrasion or scratch may affect the tooling accuracy and then cause tablet weight variation or dosage difference. Therefore, we should be more attentive to the process of handling and storage.

The tooling should be orderly stored in a cabinet, avoiding collision and rolling. Damage such as nicks and dings on and around the punch tip are commonly known to cause black specs and product discoloration as well as capping, chipping, lamination and other visual defects. A cabinet or a rack is recommended which provide adequate protection during transport and storage.


  • Proper Cleaning

Cleaning process is essential to ensure tablet quality as well as tool maintenance. Basic cleaning can be finished by hand, wiping the surface with a piece of lint, especially the punch tips, and slightly removing the stains or residue materials. Further cleaning should be supported by some relevant machines. Ultrasonic cleaning with an automatic dryer is the optimum procedure, as it provides the tool with increased exposure to cleaning solution. Most of all, the edges hard to reach like keys or the embossing can be cleaned without risks of damage. In addition, ultrasonic cleaning is conducive to protection from surface corrosion and discoloration.

  • Proper Maintenance

As for the burrs or J-hooks, we should remove and polish them before storage, hence proper maintenance is required. Polishing tools refurbishes the punch cups and restores land, and allows for minor repairs of punch heads, back angles and barrels. Unlike the polishing process of drag finishing, experienced technicians will use the cotton wheel to remove the drags and burrs, which is effective to increase the life span of tools. Inversely, a green leaner could destroy the punches and dies without professional operation skills.


  • Proper Lubrication

For tentative lubrication, we could apply the food grade barrel lubricant to the punch barrel and food grade grease to the head of the punch with a proper brush prior to set-up and operation of the tablet press. Some operator will turn to auto lubrication system which requires lubricant flowing into the distribution channels. However, the auto lubrication may not reach critical lubrication points at press start-up, which can lead to damage on mating parts of the punch, including guides, key ways, cams, and pressure rollers. A proper lubricated tooling could avoid excessive friction, and would not create superfluous heat. Thermal expansion can lead to machine emergency stops, tool binding and tool damage.

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